As we march into July, it’s time to remember the numerous unforgettable tracks the past six months have gifted us. And what better way to commemorate the half-year mark than with a specially-curated playlist rounding up our favorite hot hits from 2024? From soul-lifting melodies to spirit-boosting anthems, EnVi’s Music Team chose artists and sounds across the globe we just couldn’t get out of our heads. Hit play and turn up the volume as we take a trip down 2024’s best music (so far)!

Tinashe – “Nasty” 

“Nasty,” the lead single off Tinashe’s upcoming album QUANTUM Baby, has shot to viral fame. The uptempo R&B club track has gained over 20 million Spotify streams with its infectious chorus and daring lyrics, especially the line “Is somebody gonna match my freak?” That particular question sparked a viral meme sensation among multiple social media platforms. The song gained further traction when a fan edited a viral dance clip of Zumba instructor Nate Di Winer, setting it to the added audio of “Nasty.” Tinashe’s enchanting vocals shine brightly in the chorus, “If you keep up with me / I’ll keep on comin’ back… / ‘Cause it feels like Heaven / When it hurts so bad.” With its bold theme and captivating beat, “Nasty” is not just a hit song; it has become a cultural phenomenon. — Kayla Gayle

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PSYCHIC FEVER – “Just Like Dat feat JP THE WAVY

Electrifying J-pop sensation Psychic Fever entered this year with a bang(er) with their single, “Just Like Dat,” released through LDH Records. The track encapsulates the group’s bold and confident approach to music, embodying a blend of high-energy pop and hip-hop influences.

“Just Like Dat” is a fun catchy song in Japanese and English that details the story of the protagonist trying to get the attention of a girl he likes. The song also features impressive rap verses that add an edgy contrast to the vocal-focused verses and pre-chorus, showcasing the group’s versatility. The verses tell stories of pursuing romantic interests with determination and charm with lines like “Goddamn, that cute girl / If you let her go, you’ll regret it, say what you want to say.” The song allows the whole group to shine, with standout vocal moments from Kokoro and a captivating deep voice rap verse from Jimmy. “Just Like Dat” quickly gained global popularity with its universal earworm appeal. The music video, featuring choreography and vibrant visuals, matches the song’s vibe, highlighting Psychic Fever’s performance skills.

With two EPs and a tour under their belt in just this year already, Psychic Fever is set to dominate 2024, capturing hearts and breaking boundaries along the way. — Davonna G Gilpin

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ATARASHII GAKKO! – “Toryanse”

Spunky Japanese girl group ATARASHII GAKKO! kicked off 2024 with another spirited single via 88rising. The track’s title, “Toryanse,” is a clever nod to the traditional Japanese children’s nursery rhyme. Pulling inspiration from their youth and experience growing up in Japan, ATARASHII GAKKO! use “Toryanse” to express their pride in their heritage. With lyrics that nod to even more folklore, such as the tale of the girl with red shoes “Akai Kutsu,” the quartet pays homage to their culture. Quickly gaining traction across the globe, especially following their performances at Coachella, this vigorous electronic single proves that these girls are a force to be reckoned with.

Fierce and unstoppable, “Toryanse” is a testament that ATARASHII GAKKO! will continue to succeed in the global music scene — with or without your permission. With the recent release of their latest LP, AG! CALLING, we’re looking forward to seeing what the second half of 2024 will bring for the group. — Danni Perez

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d4vd – “Feel It”

This is the type of song you can’t ignore when rounding up the best hits of 2024. Perfectly suited for the hot summer season, the alternative indie singer dropped an upbeat track full of infectious beats and charming lyrics that have listeners feeling weightless. “Feel It” captures the classic sentiments when you’re deeply in love and its universal emotional impact. With d4vd’s electrifying falsettos and catchy chorus, the pop-infused tune makes itself irresistible to sing and dance along to as he sings, “I don’t need anything more / Be the wave, I’ll be the shore / Crashing all over me / I want you.”

The harmonic pairing between the heavy bass line and hooking electric guitar riffs creates a cinematic soundscape for listeners. This original song was also featured in the second season of Invincible, following a heartwarming montage between protagonist Mark Grayson and his love interest Amber Bennet. Team EnVi can’t deny feeling invincible after listening to this feel-good tune! — Angela Ruedas

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ATEEZ “Blind”

Coming off the heels of an explosive Coachella performance, KQ Entertainment’s eight-piece group, ATEEZ, released their 10th mini-album, GOLDEN HOUR : Part.1 this past May. The album is littered with various genres the group is trying their hand at. Each B-side is a hit, but we’d argue that “Blind” is a show stopper. After testing the waters with “ARRIBA” and becoming fast friends with Colombian singer, J Balvin, it’s no secret that ATEEZ are currently enamored by Latin music. “Blind” is an upbeat hip-hop track with strong Latin influence; the instrumental is decorated with trumpets, accordions, and a bouncy tempo.

The group sings about their infatuation with the “Queen of the Night ” as they dance with her, abandoning all sense to enjoy the night. In the chorus, main vocalist JONGHO chants, “El amor es ciego,” literally translating to “love is blind,” highlighting the irrational side of love as they also confess “Take my soul, take my heart,” before breaking out into an addicting instrumental. With acclaimed vocals and boisterous chants coupled with an explosive end at the final 30-second mark, “Blind” is an ATEEZ classic, even as they tread new territory. Vanessa Arias

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Jason Derulo & Michael Bublé “Spicy Margarita”

Bet you didn’t expect to see a Jason Derulo x Michael Bublé collab in 2024 — or any year, for that matter. On the surface, the two multi-platinum singers seem like polar opposites, but together, Derulo and Bublé find sensational common ground in “Spicy Margarita,” the criminally underrated Latin pop track of the year. Boasting two-and-a-half minutes of pure fun and sensuality, the song samples Dean Martin’s 1954 hit, “Sway,” (which Bublé famously covered on his debut album in 2003), while also bringing back its Spanish roots from Mexican singer Pedro Infante’s original song, “¿Quién será?” 

Calling this collaboration a cultural fusion would be an understatement, given how it seamlessly intertwines Derulo’s pop/R&B prowess with Bublé’s rich and fulfilling jazz timbre without a hitch. But thankfully, this burning musical concoction is just as delectable and satiating as the liquor it presents itself to be. — Chyenne Tatum

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Kali Uchis (with Peso Pluma) – “Igual Que Un Angel”

The perfect unexpected collaboration we didn’t know we needed! Kali Uchis and Peso Pluma are a musical duo we never saw coming, but their contrasting sounds blend seamlessly in “Igual Que Un Angel.” Kali Uchis is an artist known for her soulful blend of R&B and Latin pop, mostly known in the early 2010s by indie music lovers. Peso Pluma, on the other hand, is a rising star who is celebrated for his unique approach to regional music — more specifically, a new subgenre called “corridos tumbados,” which is a fusion of traditional sounds with urban elements. 

Initially, fans were a bit wary when the collaboration was announced, uncertain of how these two very different styles would blend together. However, when the song came out along with the music video, many were pleasantly surprised by the sweet and harmonious song these artists created. The video featured a retro look, with a soft, dream-like filter that captured the romantic lyrics of the song. “Igual Que Un Angel” beautifully marries Kali Uchis’ ethereal voice and Peso Pluma’s heartfelt and sweet delivery, a side of him that many fans were surprised to hear. This unexpected pairing goes to show that artists can explore new creative territories and create something great. — Sofia Briones

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BIBI  – “Bam Yang Gang”

BIBI jumped in early this year with the unexpected yet well-put together “Bam Yang Gang,” or chestnut red bean jelly, as it translates to. Since BIBI usually performs rap and R&B tracks, “Bam Yang Gang” was a well-received surprise that showcases her soft singing voice.

To many fans, this was their first time hearing BIBI sing about such a sad and serious topic. Throughout the single,  BIBI desperately desires to be loved, but the effects of those feelings become too much for another. The need for the jelly is interpreted as the desire for love, which is expressed in the lyrics, “Sweet, oh sweet, the sweet chestnut red bean jelly / The one delight I’ve always longed to savor, that sweet, sweet chestnut red bean jelly.”

This relatable feeling expressed in her music captivated many new fans and opened up numerous opportunities for her. The song went as far as to win an award on South Korean music show Inkigayo and reintroduced the old traditional dessert bamyanggaeng. — Tabbe Cisse Smith

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PP Krit – “เสนอตัว (Ooh!)”

Thai multi-hyphenate entertainer PP Krit made a return in 2024 with his latest track, “เสนอตัว (Ooh).” Released in February, the song quickly garnered attention for its catchy melody and sexy vibe. “เสนอตัว (Ooh)” is a vibrant dance-pop song characterized by its infectious, high-energy production. The track opens with an upbeat instrumental that immediately sets a lively tone, incorporating electronic elements that make it perfect for the dance floor. 

The lyrics of the song revolve around themes of self-confidence, attraction, and the excitement of making a romantic advance. PP Krit’s smooth and confident vocal delivery brings the lyrics to life, emphasizing the themes of boldness and charm. The chorus, with its catchy hook, invites listeners to embrace their feelings and take action. The music video complements the song’s high-energy vibe with vibrant visuals and dynamic choreography. Throughout the video, there are scenes that emphasize the playful and confident nature of the lyrics, with PP Krit’s charismatic performance at the center. 

PP Krit has teased new music to come in 2024, with fans hoping that a full album is on the horizon. Perhaps they’ll get a taste of upcoming releases at his joint DOUBLE TROUBLE concert with Billkin in August. — D.G.G.

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Raveena – “Pluto”

Where do butterflies go in the rain? Indian American artist Raveena Aurora lets us know that they hide in leaves and flowers because their wings are too gentle and would break under the rain droplets. For her third album, Raveena set out to make a piece of music that felt suspended in no particular time and felt full of love for listeners. Utilizing her healing vocal color and unique ethereal soundscapes, the euphoric pop song “Pluto” holds positive energy that will make the days ahead brighter and peaceful. Inspired by jazz, R&B and Bollywood music, Raveena expertly blends her soulful sound and airy vocals with a mesmerizing ensemble of the swarmandal and electric sitar. 

Although posed in a lighthearted soundframe, the song covers the topic of loss. The heartfelt ode was personally composed by Raveena after a friend told her about their friend’s passing at a very young age and about how they continuously appeared to them as a butterfly. Raveena was told of the lovely road trips and rituals they would take every year as a way to keep the friend’s spirit with them, and touched by the personal sentiment, she wrote “Pluto” a few days later. The aesthetic music video pays homage to all the 90s and 2000s music videos adored by Raveena. Raveena is on a life mission to give away as many tools for healing as possible and we are here to join the ride. — A.R.

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Beyoncé  – “16 CARRIAGES” 

Queen Bey returned with another stellar album this year, following the incredible success of RENAISSANCE in 2022. “16 CARRIAGES” surprised-released alongside the hit track “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” from COWBOY CARTER, following Beyonce’s internet-breaking Verizon commercial during the 58th Super Bowl. The melancholic, epic ballad “16 CARRIAGES’” serves as a reflection on her life as a teenager sacrificing her innocence and youth to succeed in the music industry. She serenades, “At fifteen, the innocence was gone astray / Had to leave my home at an early age / I saw Mama prayin’, I saw Daddy grind / All my tender problems, had to leave behind.” The song eloquently conveys the sacrifice she and her family faced, highlighting the experiences of being “underpaid and overwhelmed” but never giving up. The vulnerability poured into this track, along with its soulful country sound, has deeply resonated with audiences, further solidifying Beyoncé’s place in all of our hearts. — K.G.

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Morat – “Faltas Tú”

Colombian pop rock band Morat asks, “What’s the point of going out to party if the one person you want there won’t respond to your calls?” Life becomes dull and empty when you lose the one you love. Claiming that their ex-lover will return, they feel exasperation while waiting. Already a month has passed, and yet they still feel every bit as anxious since they first broke up. There’s the spice of life missing. Shifting from a tone of anger at the world to hopeful, the song chords progress higher as it goes on. No matter how long it takes, they’ll keep waiting for the woman who’s a one in a million. With hearty bass and percussion, “Faltas Tú” is the type of song that makes you want to shout out. — Dara Gonzalez

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Jelani Aryeh – “I’m in Love”

Need a bit more nostalgic, alternative music in your life? Afro-Filipino artist Jelani Aryeh’s “I’m in Love” is the song for you. Released as a single prior to his album The Sweater Club, this indie rock track dives into the complexity of idealistic love. Aryeh, an alt-indie artist, explores his desire to maintain the facade of a perfect relationship despite knowing its shortcomings. He sings about being deeply in love and willing to overlook flaws, even if it means living in an illusory love. In the chorus, he softly serenades, “And it’s not the first time this is leavin’ your lips / But lie to me and say you believe it exists, my love.” The track portrays his plea for his partner to affirm and reciprocate this perfect love. Aryeh emphasizes his yearning to stay in this false romance and highlights the contrast between their idealized relationship versus reality. — K.G.

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Creepy Nuts – “Bling-Bang-Bang-Born”

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the best hip-hop duo of them all? Creepy Nuts are the ones who set the industry ablaze in 2024, from what Team EnVi recalls. Using R-Shitei’s refreshing wordplay and DJ Matsunaga’s detailed craftsmanship, the Japanese power duo produced “Bling-Bang-Bang-Born” — an energizing single that took the music scene by storm. The hip-hop track met its release in January as the opening theme song for hit anime series Mashle: Magic and Musclessecond season. Matching the show’s exhilarating series of events, DJ Matsunaga embraced a driving jersey-club inspired beat on top of quirky sound effects such as the earworm of bed squeaking for the bouncy track. In similar fashion, R-Shitei’s rapid-fire of witty rhetoric and animated singing heighten the song’s dynamism and intense energy.

In pair with the song’s infectious hook and buoyant tempo, the music video exhibits the show’s main cast dancing to the chorus in unison with stone faces identical to our main protagonist Mashle. The credits’ amusing dance immediately made waves on the internet as it was taken from animation into reality and coined as the BBBB dance. An increase in viewership and popularity made its way to the show, as the witty opening garnered attention internationally and shook up social media. The song achieved significant success with reaching number one on Japan’s Oricon Combined Singles Chart and Billboard Japan Hot 100, marking the duo’s first chart-topping hit in the country. — A.R.

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NCT Dream – “Carat Cake”

There’s no denying the infectious Jersey Club genre has gotten a ton of love from K-pop in the last year, with groups like NewJeans, LE SSERAFIM, and SEVENTEEN all taking a stab at the popular trend. But now NCT Dream has entered the chat with “Carat Cake,” a B-side off of the group’s latest EP, Dream()Scape, and definitely a standout track. According to The Fader, Jersey Club is easily identifiable by its aggressive and bouncy tempos, fusing house music and hip-hop with prominent use of staccato and chopped samples. 

From the jump, “Carat Cake” wastes no time following these rules. MARK instantly sets the tone from his opening verse into two-and-a-half minutes of nonstop vibes and foot thumping: “What’s that thing on my wrist, what’s thing on my wrist / Never seen nothing like this, never seen nothing like this.” The members equate falling in love with the sweet indulgence one would feel while wearing a couple hundred carats, or in their words, “a whole jewelry store” on their hands. Couple that with their usual food reference, and you’ve got a recipe for the perfect NCT Dream record. — C.T.

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Yung Filly – “Grey”

Musician and content creator Yung Filly has made his stellar return to music with his first release of 2024, “Grey.” The feel-good, vibey track draws influence from the singer’s Colombian heritage, featuring a vibrant blend of Bachata, reggaeton, and afro swing. Penned by Yung Filly and JuwonMix, “Grey” explores themes of love, fame, and the complexities of relationships in the fast-paced, high-profile world. Yung Filly sings about his need for his lover, yet he also admits he can’t commit to a long-term relationship due to his busy lifestyle and that a break up is inevitable. He reflects on his exciting, glamorous life of private jets and VVS Diamonds, and questions whether his partner really loves him or is just drawn to his material wealth. Despite tackling these heavy subjects, the infectious instrumental and Yung Filly’s engaging delivery make it a dance-worthy hit. — K.G.

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August Moon – “Closer”

Everyone loves a well-synchronized boy band — even when they’re fictional. Amazon Prime’s The Idea Of You hit a sweet spot with Hayes, Ollie, Simon, Rory and Adrian, better known as August Moon. No spoilers for those who haven’t seen it (what are you waiting for?), but a pivotal scene in the film plays out to a live performance of the band’s track “Closer.” While the group may be fake, their music is very much real and written by pop legend Savan Kotecha, who is known for writing tracks for One Direction, The Weeknd, and Ariana Grande. 

“Closer” was recorded primarily by Hollywood’s new British heartthrob, Nicholas Galitzine, who portrays August Moon’s lead singer. The song is a mid-tempo ballad perfect for a serenade under a — you guessed it — August moon. The lyrics spin a classic boy meets girl, boy falls head-over-heels tale with a perfect amount of sentimental nostalgia and boyish charm. The catchy chorus hits just right to make you sway without realizing and, before you know it, it’s stuck in your head. 

While the fictional boy band recorded other songs, videos, and dance practices, “Closer” is a standout track among them. From the impressive vocal performance by Galitzine to the realistic portrayal of an actual 2010s boyband song, you just can’t help but want more. One thing’s for sure, August Moon joins Boyz ‘N Motion and 4*Town in fake TV and film boy band history. — D.G.G

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ONF – “Bye My Monster”

A dark turn from their previous release, “Bye My Monster” marks a shift in ONF’s discography. The season of romance expressed in “Love Effect” has gone as quickly as it came. ONF refuse to drag themselves into further despair from a one-sided love. Instead, they beg to be let go as they know they are not strong enough to take initiative themselves.

ONF captivate their audience with a blend of rock, classical, and ballad genres. A melody from Rachmaninoff’s “Symphony No.2” builds up into the rock chorus with tangled emotion. Their choreography also visualizes the pain and angst caused by this complicated relationship. ONF’s members link arms and push each other away, symbolizing the way this love has trapped them. For their own good, they know they must let go. “Bye my Monster” is an artistic farewell to a painful romance and prevention from a loss of self. — D.G.

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Ariana Grande  – “don’t wanna break up again” 

Ariana Grande returned to the music scene with one of the best pop albums released this year, Eternal Sunshine. Among the album’s impressive tracks, “don’t wanna break up again” is a sure standout with Grande’s involvement in production and lyrics. Throughout the pop-R&B ballad, the singer expresses the pain she and her lover inflict on each other. The track opens with the heartbreaking lines, “I fall asleep cryin’ / You turn up the TV / You don’t wanna hear me / One more sleepless night.” Despite the challenges and her partner’s lack of effort, Grande’s desire to save the relationship shines through, even though her lover only begins to fight for it as it nears its end. The multihyphenate’s emotional delivery of the lyrics, particularly in lines like “Hope you won’t, won’t regret me / Hope you’ll still think fondly of our little life,” resonates deeply with listeners. The upbeat, 808-filled track paired with the hesitant and somber lyrics, leading to a perfect breakup anthem. — K.G

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f5ve – “Lettuce”

Hailing from Tokyo, Japan, girl group f5ve are inter-dimensional dream agents on a mission to infiltrate the subconscious mind in order to eradicate self-doubt and negative energy! Formerly known as SG5 (i.e. Sailor Guardian 5), the stellar quintet came back more powerful than ever with their second digital single “Lettuce” on May 3. Tapping into the Y2K aesthetic, “Lettuce” is an infectious, hyperpop-influenced R&B track that’ll have you feeling empowered. Established via melody and performance, the song adopts a relaxing atmosphere alongside its catchy hook and addicting groove. The soft-spoken song expresses someone’s attraction and fascination towards a confident and cute woman. F5ve encourages listeners to care little for the hate thrown at you because you should know that you are the best at heart.

Directed by photographer and director Charlotte Rutherford, the surreal landscape of the music video invites viewers into a dreamland full of lettuce with f5ve members’ personalities shining through their performance. Group members KAEDE, SAYAKA, RURI, MIYUU, and RU show off their flair and elegance alongside the positive and motivating message. A highlight alongside the playful lyrics “You eat a lotta lettuce but you’re toxic,” takes place in the chorus with f5ve doing a neat choreography of lettuce-eating where anyone can join in and move to! — A.R.

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FloyyMenor, Cris MJ – “Gata Only”

Another TikTok viral hit that is taking the world by storm is “Gata Only” by Chilean artists FloyyMenor and Cris MJ. These two young stars are breaking records left and right, becoming the first Chilean artists to enter the Billboard Top 10 list since 1999. 

FloyyMenor, known for his catchy hooks, has quickly risen in the ranks of Latin music. His collaborator, Cris MJ, has made a name for himself with his smooth blend of reggaeton and contemporary influences. You might recognize another one of his popular tracks ‘Una Noche En Medellín’ which also has a remix featuring Karol G and Ryan Castro. At only 22 years of age, Cris MJ, along with FloyyMenor who started his career at the age of 15, continues to break records and inspire other Chilean artists. 

The catchy lyrics and infectious melody of “Gata Only” have made it a fan favorite on social media, garnering over one million video creations on TikTok. Adding to the song’s virality, ‘Gata Only’ also has a remix featuring Anitta and Ozuna, two major Latin artists that bring their own unique sound to the track. Meanwhile, the music video is energetic and flashy, featuring late night drives, extravagant houses, and stunning visuals. Directed by filmmaker Ignacio Cruz, who also directed FloyyMenor’s music video for “Apaga El Cell,” the music video encapsulates the essence of the song as well as the artist’s youthful energy. The song itself is a masterful blend of reggaeton and Latin Pop, with an upbeat rhythm that explains its popularity on TikTok, making it impossible to not dance along. — S.B

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Rees Gonzales – “Oh no, I’m falling in love again”

Rees Gonzales consistently delights fans with a monthly release schedule, and one of his standout tracks this year is “Oh no, I’m falling in love again.” In this heartfelt song, the Filipino singer-songwriter dives into the experience of rediscovering love. He tenderly sings about noticing small, endearing details of a new love interest and the joy her laughter and presence brings him. Gonzales passionately describes his beloved’s eyes as “prettier than the big blue sky,” a poetic reflection of his ever-growing feelings. The indie pop track features his signature warm and mellow sound, inviting listeners to unwind with its soothing melodies and relatable lyrics. “Oh no, I’m falling in love again” makes for the perfect song to be added to your late-night summer drive playlist.  — K.G.

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Natori – “Absolute zero”

If you’re a fan of manga and anime, then you’ve definitely heard of the iconic series, Wind Breaker, which follows a school for delinquents that prioritizes strength over academics. If not, then all you need to know is that the Japanese musician, natori, created the opening for the series and it’s a banger. “Absolute zero” is an explosive track melding together elements of rock and electronic music. 

While natori is known for his ability to blend together traditional Japanese elements with pop and rock, “Absolute zero” is eclectic in a way that is characteristically “natori.” The lyrics follow a fervent desire to embrace life fully, regardless of uncertainty and adversity. The song is a powerful reflection of the series it’s meant to represent — emphasizing the importance of facing life’s challenges head-on, burning down everything to “absolute zero.” — V.A.

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ZAYN – “Stardust”

Well-known for his R&B-centric music, ZAYN surprised listeners as he introduced a new genre into his discography. His fourth LP ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS is rooted in a pop-folk sound that surprisingly suits the vocalists’ timbre. Fit for the hopeless romantics, the album’s third single “Stardust” sounds as magical as its title. With a twinkly synthesizer, soft snare, and gentle acoustic guitar, “Stardust” radiates the warmth that one would expect stars to. Although ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS tackles a variety of emotionally vulnerable themes, “Stardust” offers a sense of hope by highlighting the magical feeling of falling in love. ZAYN sweetly croons, “Feels like stardust / Fallin’ all around us / Funny how it found us.” As sweet as a dream, ZAYN truly stole the show (and hearts) with “Stardust.” — D.P.

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QWER – “T.B.H” 

If you’re a fan of rock and explosive energy, then Korean girl band QWER is perfect for your jam sessions. Bringing a refreshing new sound to the K-rock scene, their track “T.B.H” will make listeners feel as if they are the main characters of their own lives. The first track from their debut mini album MANITO, the song is reminiscent of electronica J-pop-esque sound among the classical pop band elements. From its electronic distortion and lively bassline to the fun drums and dynamic vocality, QWER cemented a rhythmic and energetic hit fit for the blooming springtime. Like skill keys in online games, the visual quartet Chodan (Q), Magenta (W), Hina (E), and Siyeon (R) came together with their colorful personalities on a mission to pass on beautiful harmonies to Bawige. — A.R.

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Kendrick Lamar — “Not Like Us”

Well…this one is pretty self explanatory. Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar’s final track in the back and forth musical feud between him and Canadian pop star Drake is a certified legacy hit. Not only did the track directly call out rumors that have been swirling around Drake and his camp for years, it did so to arguably the most danceable beat of 2024. Produced by another Compton native, DJ Mustard, this went against critics who said that Lamar’s tracks in the beef weren’t catchy enough. And so, “Not Like Us” serves as a love letter to West Coast hip-hop as much as it does a diss track. A point further proven at Lamar’s special Juneteenth concert The Pop Out: Ken & Friends, where he platformed other Southern California artists and legends, and where Lamar himself even declared the show “unity at its finest” before launching into his fifth performance of the song that night.

The song has been rendition ed into classical and jazz covers, translated into languages all over the world and danced and sung along to by just about anyone you have seen on social media. “Not Like Us”  has transcended to become a staple universal track that will live on way past 2024, and that is the biggest diss of all. — D.G.G

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ROBI – “TKILA”

Hailing from Carolina, Puerto Rico, Roberto Chabrier Baez Moraza — known as ROBI — is rising to stardom for his refreshing sound. He brought in the year with his addictive track “TKILA” back in January. “TKILA” — a play on the word tequila — is an upbeat pop-rock track with elements of house that is like a breath of fresh air in the world of Latin music. Blending together rock and pop is characteristic of ROBI’s sound and although he is no stranger to reggaeton — a popular genre in the Caribbean — it’s this youthful take on Latin music that makes ROBI special. “TKILA” is deceptively cheery for a track that’s all about missed chances. ROBI sings about being stuck at a club, drunk and fooling around with other people when his mind is on someone else whose name is tattooed on his heart. That bass-heavy atmosphere of a club can be felt in the start of the chorus before it breaks out in a pop-rock instrumental as he confesses that he’s been looking for the object of his affections in the notes of the music. 

Although the track was dropped at the top of the year, “TKILA” is perfect for those warm nights as we bring in the summer. The topic is timeless, and ROBI fits in no matter the season. V.A.

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DICE – “Mona Lisa”

Making their graceful debut in March, T-pop boy group DICE made their first roll of the dice onto the music scene with their smooth pop single “Mona Lisa.” Consisting of members MIN, ALEX, JAY, APO, JISANG, OBO, CHEESE, MADDOC, OTTO, and FRAME, the group exudes powerful charisma and grace in their declaration of love and intense desire to become the only one on your mind. “Mona Lisa” is driven by a funk-inspired beat, complimented by an elegant harp motif. As majestic as the track’s melody, DICE’s choreography is executed in fluid yet sharp motions, rendering “Mona Lisa” artistic and inventive. The group’s performances may be observed differently in concepts such as Carpe Diem, Exhibition, and Art Piece versions — intensifying the song’s confession and DICE’s enchanting glamor. — A.R.
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RIIZE – “Impossible” 

SM Entertainment’s newest boy group, RIIZE, made their debut last fall with the dance-pop song “Get a Guitar.” Since then, the seven-member group has become known for its vibrant sound that blends timeless genres and feel-good lyrics, a style dubbed as “emotional pop.” With their hit song, “Impossible,” the K-pop septet has released a pop house track that instantly makes listeners want to dance. Featuring a catchy chorus and groovy beat that at the very least provokes head-bobbing, the singers belt out, “Got me dyin’ to realize it now / With you it’s all possible, I’m complete… / Without you, it’s impossible.” The members sing that even if something seems impossible, it becomes achievable when they move toward the same dream with a loved one. Although RIIZE is less than a year old, they have already released not only a summer anthem but also one of the best songs of 2024 so far. — K.G.

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4EVE – “Hot 2 Hot”

Thai idol group 4EVE are not the type to play when it comes to messages of empowerment and self-confidence. In their fiery February single “Hot 2 Hot,” the septet makes listeners unable to resist their seductive charms and intoxicating pop tunes. 4EVE invites listeners into a world of fantasy and pleasures as they lure you into a passionate moment. Incorporating their unique blend of Eastern and Western pop influences, the hot track possesses a mix of ensemble with an addicting bass line and acoustic, resulting in a refreshing pop hit. The music video showcases seven members, Mind, Jorin, Taaom, Hannah, Fai, Punch, and Aheye, holding white paper fans clad in blood-red frills and ribbons as they rhythmically pop their hips in unison. Make sure to press play on this steamy single, but beware, once you step into the world of 4EVE, you’ll find it hard to escape. — A.R.

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Bree Runway – “JUST LIKE THAT”

Bree Runway makes a bold return with her latest single “JUST LIKE THAT” after a year-long hiatus, reintroducing herself as an independent artist. The track bursts with its vibrant energy and electrifying beats, showing off the singer’s powerful performance. Her lyrics are fierce and confident as she delivers sharp rhymes that underscore her resilience and assertiveness in the industry. In the chorus, Bree declares, “Just like that, yeah, we’re motherfucking back,” capturing the defiant spirit of her return. Throughout the verses, she conveys her self-assurance and ambition, blending self-empowerment with a dash of swagger. With references to her fashion choices and unapologetic attitude, she reinforces her presence as a standout figure in pop music. With lyrics such as “Unsubscribed from the metrics ’cause it ain’t for me / Indie but I’ma still do it majorly,” Bree emphasizes her independence and determination to make a significant impact on the scene. This powerful return of the pop princess has us all excited for what she has planned next. — K.G.

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Shreea Kaul – “Tere Bina (Acoustic)”

Paying homage to the South Asian roots of Bollywood music, Indian American singer-songwriter Shreea Kaul transformed her dark-pop single “Tere Bina” (translation: “Without You”) into an alluring acoustic rendition. Through the song’s delicate string plucks and her hypnotic vocals, Shreea produced a haunting, bilingual track highlighting the songstress’ prowess in traditional vocal practices. “Tere Bina” explores the emotional complexities of a devoted love fated to meet a tragic ending. Shreea designs a multidimensional listening experience that is weaved through her application of Hindi and use of classical vocal techniques. In the catchy post-chorus, “Dhoom ta dhoom ta na dhoom ta / Dha dha dhin tin na dhoom dha,” Shreea mimics the sounds of the Indian percussion instrument tabla with syllables prominent in Indian classical arts. “Tere Bina”’s acoustic variation established her distinctive blend of traditional music with Western elements and Team EnVi just can’t get enough of Shreea’s trailblazing fusion of sounds. — A.R.

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Ginger Root – “No Problems”

This wouldn’t be a complete mid-year round-up without a Ginger Root single! With a sound self-proclaimed as Aggressive Soul Elevator, Chinese-American multi-instrumentalist Cameron Lew comes back with his modern fusion of ‘80s funk and disco Japanese city pop in the Bedroom pop scene. Announcing a new timeline alongside his new music, Ginger Root’s unrivaled concept takes the spotlight once more in his fresh single “No Problems.” Incorporating his signature city-pop elements, the soul-driven track captivates listeners from its neat bass and distinctive strings and keys, resulting in a mesmerizing nostalgic melody.

“No Problems” followed Cameron’s new timeline after the conclusion of his previous story (a.k.a. his last EP) Nisemono. After his movie pitch for his original anime series Meet You In the Galaxy! fails to persuade media conglomerate Juban TV, Cameron Lew is fired due to creative differences. Cameron explores new ground in Juban District on his journey to start his own TV network, Ginger Root Productions. “No Problems” is the first single from his upcoming full length album SHINBANGUMI, which is set to release on September 13. Ginger Root will also embark on his 2024 fall tour in September, hitting cities such as San Diego, Chicago, and Boston. — A.R.

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Sabrina Carpenter – “Espresso”

The de facto song of the summer, Sabrina Carpenter’s mega hit “Espresso” has taken the pop world by storm with its infectious, flirtatious energy. The song showcases Carpenter’s confident and playful side, blending upbeat tempos with clever lyrics. “Espresso” compares Sabrina to an invigorating espresso shot, showcasing her ability to keep someone up all night with thoughts of her. With lyrics like “Now he’s thinkin’ ’bout me every night, oh / Is it that sweet? I guess so / Say you can’t sleep, baby, I know / That’s that me, espresso” to drive the metaphor home. 

After opening for Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour,” Carpenter has been on a steady rise. “Espresso” has topped charts across the globe, making it her biggest hit yet. But the song’s impact extends beyond just chart performance. It has trended widely on social media platforms, with fans and celebrities from Cardi B to Adele singing along to the track. Carpenter’s new album Short N’ Sweet, which features “Espresso” and its follow-up “Please Please Please,” drops August 23. — D.G.G.

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